Kate O'Connell

Reporter, Innovation Trail, Finger Lakes

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail

Kate O’Connell comes to WXXI from Melbourne, Australia, and studied journalism at Royal Melboure Institute of Technology.

During her studies, Kate was a freelance journalist, reporting from Nepal and Haiti, and worked with the media team of the United Nations partner group, International Organization for Migration.

Kate's experience also includes work for the Shepparton News, Australian Broadcasting Company, Melbourne’s Channel 31, RRR radio and WIN television.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has launched a service to streamline regulatory processes for New York’s $22 billion alcoholic beverage industry. The one-stop-shop initiative is designed to give producers a single point of government contact for licensing, regulatory, and incentives issues.

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The City of Rochester has been given state approval to establish one of the state’s ten Land Banks. The city’s Land Bank will support the acquisition of vacant, tax-delinquent properties which will then be  renovated and sold through the HOME Rochester program. The aim is to also get more properties back on the tax rolls.

Mike Saechang / Flickr

For gun manufacturers, there is one thing that seems very apparent - the demand for traditional weapons is high. For many customers, there is a personal connection to guns that have been in the family for years. For others, it is the allure of brands and models that have stood the test of time.

Daniel Robison/Innovation Trail

Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly putting together a proposal that would see a second, non-Indian operate casino open in downtown Niagara Falls. The question is whether the market could sustain another casino.

baristaj9 / Flickr

Despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent zest for upstate beer and wine, some industry leaders think his plan has a missing link. Thy say the lack of wine experts known as Master Sommeliers in the upstate region could be a road-block to the sector reaching its full potential and bringing with it growth in tourism.

BuffaloRising.com

Boosting exports, focusing on homegrown New York businesses, and the importance of engaging with Generation Y. These were all topics of focus at the Accelerate Upstate 2.0 conference in Buffalo this week.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council

Tourism professionals in upstate New York are applauding Gov. Andrews Cuomo’s commitment to the region. In order to augment upstate economic growth, the governor has set aside $7 million in the budget for promotion and marketing initiatives.

The Regional Economic Development Councils have been a cornerstone of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to revitalize the state's economy. In his budget address Tuesday, Cuomo proposed a third round of state funding for the regional councils totaling $210 million.

WXXI Public Broadcasting

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year ago. The intervening months have seen big layoffs, pay freezes for workers, and an end to benefits for many of the company's retirees. However, Kodak also secured an extra $830 million in funding, and sold its patent portfolio.

Solar Liberty Foundation

This weekend marked the third anniversary of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the nation of Haiti. Three years on and the recovery process still has a long way to go, but one organization in western New York has been  helping to bring renewable energy to Haitians still living without power.

In his third State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a new initiative to create ten "Innovation Hot Spots" - areas where startup businesses can receive support, access venture capital and possibly tax breaks.

It was no surprise that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address focused on the issue of gun control in New York. Following several tragedies in recent months, Cuomo put forward a list of proposed laws to tighten gun control. But one part of the proposal in particular may prove controversial.

The national unemployment level remained unchanged at 7.8 percent for December, according to Bureau of Labor Statistic figures released today. This is the 49th consecutive month unemployment has been above 7 percent but according to analysis from an interest group, those numbers don’t reflect the reality for young adults.

Tuesday’s fiscal cliff package included extensions to a range of business-related tax credits, including one aimed at supporting research and development. Although Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse have some of the most active R & D economies in the country, experts say the deal could be a double-edged sword for upstate New York.

A consortium of three upstate medical schools is to receive $12.1 million in funding to try to create a treatment for people living with multiple sclerosis.

Imagine a dialysis machine small enough that a patient could wear it. A super-thin filtering material may allow researchers at the University of Rochester to revolutionize dialysis for patients with kidney disease.

Remember the mood ring? Well the smart phone of the future may be able to identify your mood based on the sound of your voice.

Adam Sadilek

Imagine using your smart phone to avoid getting the flu. A new mobile app designed by researchers at the University of Rochester could make it possible.

Kodak is set to sell its coal-fired power plant at Eastman Business Park to a company that will convert it to a cleaner, natural gas facility.

The department of Health and Human Services awarded more than $5 million to school-based health centers in New York state this week. The funding is part of an $80 million dollar pot distributed to 197 centers around the nation.

The sale of the Hickey Freeman parent company was approved by the U.S Bankruptcy Court Wednesday. Authentic Brands Groups (ABG) and W-Diamond Corporation have been given the go ahead to purchase the intellectual and physical property of the company.

Fifteen teams of students from the Rochester Institute of Technology, led by faculty, will develop technologies for assisting people with disabilities in the region.

Stewart Marshall / via Flickr

Kodak has reached an agreement for the sale of their digital patent portfolio. Under the agreement, the company will receive $525 million for the imaging patents from Intellectual Ventures, a major holder of US patents, and a group of 12 licensees.

Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

A new facility in upstate New York is being touted as the ‘bridge’ from research to stem cell therapies that could potentially cure conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and spinal damage.

The Northeast rail corridor will see shorter travel times and be more reliable. Through a new 25-year lease, Amtrak has taken control of a busy stretch of track leading to the capital region.

The number of women graduating from computer science degrees has more than halved since the 1980s. One computer scientists recently spoke to students at the Rochester Institute of Technology and told them that women have to be included in the field to boost the economy, and to encourage equality.

The industry around the scientific fields of optics and photonics has a strong presence in upstate New York. Monroe County alone is home to around 50 companies working in the field that is behind things like lasers, smart phones, and the Internet.

Closing the gap between innovation and commercialization is the key to boosting the national economy. That is one of the messages at a manufacturing summit being held in Rochester this week.  Industry leaders say economic growth triggered by American ideas needs to be kept within the United States' borders.

New legislation would allow 55,000 thousand green cards to be earmarked for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math has made it through the House of Representatives. But the bill still has an uphill battle ahead.

A General Motors facility in western New York has announced they are going green. The site in Lockport makes heating and air conditioning components for GM radiators and is the 103rd facility for the company to become landfill-free.

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